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GoaCentral > Restaurants of Goa > Introduction to Goan Cuisine

Introduction to Goan Cuisine

For those interested in knowing what Goan cuisine is all about, here is an introduction with lists of dishes, and their commonly listed ingredients that one might find listed on the menus in local restaurants. Click on for more...



Warning !!!


Fish & Seafood dishes

Meat Dishes

Vegetarian Dishes

Starters Feni and Goan cocktails Pickles


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The intermingling of Arabian, Portuguese and native cultures is reflected in the cuisine of Goa, which is a unique blend of richness and simplicity- the constantly recurring notes being struck by the fish and the coconut.  Goa is also unique in the sense that this mixture of East and West co-exists in a friendly and peaceful  lifestyle.  The best of both worlds has been absorbed and knit into a culture very distinctly different from that of any other part of India. This is well reflected in its cuisine.

In the villages, food is generally cooked on wood fires in clay pots. Homesick Goans the world over dream  and reminiscence about the simple life and food of their childhood days, trying to re-create the smoky flavor of the mid-day curry and the glass of fresh toddy. Even today, most homes in Goan villages have preserved the tradition of wood fires and clay pots.

The requisites for authentic Goan cooking are certain ingredients peculiar to it.  Hardly any Goan dish is complete without coconut as one of the main flavoring agents.  Fresh coconut, in one form or the other, is added or grated, ground fine into a paste or in the form of a milk, extracted from the flesh of the fresh coconut.  These ripe coconuts are available in every open market in Goa and often in grocery stores too.

For most Goan fish and meat dishes, red, dried chilies / peppers are used.  The Goan native chili / pepper is large and pungent.  It gives red colour to the cooking without the fierce pungency of the normal Indian chili / pepper.  Since the Goan chili / pepper is not always easy to obtain, the Kashmiri chili / pepper is used instead.  It has the same qualities as the Goan red, dried chili / pepper.  This red dried chilies / peppers form the major ingredient for the ground spices in most fish and meat dishes.  


For those intending to taste Goan and Indian cuisine in restaurants, It might be worthwhile to mention the grade of "spiciness" at the time of ordering the food; generally described as -mild , moderate or spicy hot!!!. For the uninitiated it would be well worth it to start with a "mild spicy  version".


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The Soup in Goa and Goan homes originated with the serving of “Pez”, rice gruel, served in almost all village homes at around eleven  in the morning.  This is usually accompanied by a piece of Mango  pickle (known as “Aamli” in Konkani) and  or dry fish roasted or fried in oil.  With the  added vegetables, beans, and bits of meat or fish it is  a meal in itself.  This soup is popularly known as Sopa Grossa.

Sopa Grossa

This soup consist of "Pez" with chicken, mutton, beef or vegetables, rice, fresh beans, spring onion, cabbage, green peas, chick peas, tomatoes etc.


It is  a soup of feasts and  no wedding buffet or an important celebration is complete without it. Great attention is given to its preparation, giving it just that desired amount of piquancy.

This soup is made of chicken, milk, corn flour, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

Bolinas Queijo

This soup is made of flour (sieved), butter and salt to taste.

Canja de Galinha

This soup consists of chicken, onions, clove garlic, turmeric, green peas, salt and pepper to taste.

Shellfish Soup

This soup is made of mussels or divined prawns, rice, onions, clove garlic, ginger, garam masala, and white wine.

Caldo Verde

This soup is made of potatoes (boiled), onions, clove garlic, meat or vegetable, spinach, and salt and pepper to taste.

Sopa de Cenuova

This soup is made of carrots, meat or vegetables, onions, clove garlic, tomatoes, flour, sugar, milk, butter and nutmeg.  

Sopa de Cebola

This soup is made of butter, onions, clove garlic, flour, sugar, beef, mutton or chicken, dry red wine and bread croutons.

Sopa de Ervilhas

This soup is made of of dried peas, onions, chicken or vegetables, diced potatoes and  bacon.

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Fish dishes

Fish is one of the most important ingredients of Goan cuisine. For all practical purposes, “fish curry and rice” is without doubt Goa's staple diet.  All along the coast, fishing trawlers can be seen casting their nets to collect the bounty of the Arabian Sea. The catch usually consist of king fish, mackerels, sardines, shark fish, squid, sting rays, other small fish of many varieties and then the lower sea fish like prawns of all sizes, crabs, mussels, oysters and crayfish. The Pomphret sometimes called "Plaice", is not a common find,  and hence is more expensive. During low tides, the smaller shellfish are collected usually by the womenfolk  and children of  fishermen and sold fresh in the market place. During the monsoon months (June-September),  fresh fish is scarce and  is sold at a premium . During this season salted shrimp and mackerels prepared in many different ways, find their way to the family table.

Traditional Fish Curry

It is made of  of prawns (peeled / divined ) or sliced fish, green chilies or peppers (deseeded), onion, grated coconut, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves garlic. Red dried chilies or peppers, ginger, turmeric powder and tamarind pulp.


This is a curry made without fish during  the monsoon season. It goes well with a variety of pickles and or salted fish prepared in the Goan inimitable style. Eggs are sometimes  used to garnish the Sorak. The Sorak itself consists of grated coconut, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves garlic, turmeric powder, dried chilies or peppers, onion, green chilies or peppers (deseeded) and tamarind pulp.

Onion Fish Curry

This consist of prawns, grated coconut, dried chilies or peppers, peppercorns, cloves garlic, onions, turmeric powder and salt to taste.

Amottik Fish Curry

This consists of shark fish or sting ray, dried red chilies or peppers, cloves garlic, ginger, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, sugar, vinegar, oil, onions, curry leaves and salt to taste.

Crab Curry

This consists of large crabs boiled (only body and claws), red chilies or peppers, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, cloves garlic, ginger, oil, onion, grated coconut, garam masala, tamarind pulp and salt to taste.

Oyster Pie

This consists of  Oysters, butter, tomatoes, cloves garlic, green chilies (de-seeded), flour, milk, eggs, soup cubes (vegetable or chicken), boiled peas, grated cheese, breadcrumbs and salt to taste.

Fried Fish Fingers / Shellfish Platter

This commonly consists of about four fish fillets, twelve large prawns, twelve large oysters, twelve mussels and juice of two lemons, salt and pepper to taste, breadcrumbs, eggs and oil.

Fish Temperade

This is specially made of shellfish, crabs, prawns, mussels, clams etc.

Fish Recheiado

This consists of mackerels, lemon juice, turmeric, oil and salt to taste.

Prawn Temperado

This usually consists of about twelve large prawns, white pumpkin, red chilies, ginger, coconut milk, green chilies, turmeric powder and salt to taste.

Fish Balchao

This is made of fish fillets, large prawns, cloves garlic, turmeric powder,, ginger, red dried chilies, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, sugar, dried shrimps, oil, onion, tomato puree and salt to taste.

Langouste Balchao

The big  Cray-fish, called langouste is sometimes mistaken for the lobster. It is often called a lobster on a menu, and priced accordingly also. It is  made of Cray fish, oil, onion, green chilies, tomatoes, Recheiado masala, dried shrimps, sugar and salt to taste.

Portuguese Sardines

This is made of sardines, olive oil, tomato puree, pepper corns, clove garlic, sugar, vinegar and salt to taste.

Fofos de Peixe

This is made of Fish, pepper corns, potato (boiled), eggs, clove garlic, ginger, green chilies, lemon juice, coriander, bread crumbs, oil and salt to taste.


This is made of fish, large prawns, coconut grated, coriander, cumin seeds, cloves garlic, ginger, onions, tomato, green chilies, lemon juice and salt to taste.

Fish Guisado

This is made of Fish / fillet, oil, onions, ginger, cloves garlic, green chilies, tomatoes, turmeric powder, vinegar and salt to taste.

Apa de

This is made of rice, grated coconut, toddy, eggs, prawn Balchao, butter, sugar and salt to taste.

Fish Moile

This is made of fish / prawn, coconut grated, oil, onions, tomatoes, green chilies, ginger, turmeric powder and salt to taste.

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Feni and Goan cocktails

The popularity of Feni, the native alcoholic drink of Goa is attested to by the fact that practically every third little house is a “Tavern”.  In general the two types of Feni available are based on what it is created from.  Coconut Feni is made from toddy, the fermented sap of the coconut tree and cashew Feni is the fermented juice of the cashew fruit.

Feni cocktails

Feni cocktails are a must in every cocktail bar of every hotel in Goa.  The rating do not matter.  These cocktail sharpen one’s appetite for food, be it lunch, snacks or dinner and creates the mood for conversation.


It consists of water, sugar, cinnamon, ripe orange, brandy, ice cubes and red wine 

This refreshing drink comes from an old recipe from “those were the days” of the 40’s and earlier.  It was made to welcome homecoming relatives and guests.  Children were given a sip or two as an indulgence.  This magic still holds.

Fidalgo's Punch

It consists of coconut Feni, rum, lemon juice, Angostura bitters, sugar, orange juice, and nutmeg decorated with a slice of orange and a sprig of mint.

The Goan Punch

It consists of ice cubes, coconut Feni and coffee liqueur.

Sun Kissed Cocktail

It consists of coconut cream, coconut Feni, pineapple juice, ice cubes decorated with wedge of pineapple and a cherry.

Holiday Sparkle

It consists of coconut Feni, ice, sugar and lemon juice and wine.

Sol de Orange

It consists of coconut Feni, ice and orange juice garnished with a slice of orange.

For longer drink, it is topped with lemonade or soda water.

Tambre Maria or Bloody Mary

It consists of Feni, ice cubes, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, pinch of salt, pepper, sugar and Tabasco sauce decorated with fresh celery and a sprig of mint.

Frozen Pineapple

It consists of pineapple, sugar, lemon juice, coconut Feni decorated with half a ring of pine apple.

Song Of Goa

It consists of black tea, orange liqueur and some lemon peel into a saucepan, coconut Feni and ice cubes. It is reportedly guaranteed to make you sing till the wee hours of the morning.


This is a drink originally made with almonds or cashew nuts.  Orchata has a cooling effect on a hot summer day.  It contains no alcohol. It consists of cashew nuts, water, sugar, rose water or orange flower water, almond essence and citric acid.

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While imbibing Feni, one is treated to an array of mouth watering Goan snacks.  These are unique to Goa and never quite taste the same anywhere else.

Rissois de Camarao

These consist of prawns, onion, grated cheddar cheese, milk and butter.

Salt Fish Balls

These consist of dried salted mackerels, onion, cloves garlic, green chilies (de-seeded), eggs, potatoes, rice flour, salt and pepper to taste.

Sour – Hot Sauce

It consists of pepper corns, dried chilies, cloves garlic, fresh ginger, tamarind and vinegar.


It consists of orange pumpkin, rice flour fried in oil.


It consists of minced mutton or beef, red chilies (dry), green chilies (de-seeded), cloves, ginger, cloves garlic, bread, eggs.

Mussels in Shell

These consist of mussels, red chilies or peppers, cloves garlic, ginger, masala, cumin seeds, vinegar, sugar, onion.

Baked Caranguejos (Crabs)

These consist of crabs, butter, onion, tomatoes, green chilies or peppers, cloves garlic, ginger, eggs, breadcrumbs and coriander leaves.

King Prawns

These are king prawns that are fried and served.  They are fried applying a paste made of red chilies or peppers, clove garlic, ginger, garam masala, Cummins seed, vinegar, sugar and onion.

Stuffed Papads

They are usually stuffed with prawns, onion chopped fine, green chilies or peppers, cloves garlic and fried in oil.

Many varieties of stuffed Papads are served in almost all restaurants of Goa like vegetarian stuffed masala papa etc.

Fried Fish Platter

These consist of fish fillets, large prawns, oysters, mussels, lemon juice, eggs, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper to taste.

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Vegetarian  Dishes

There are some very popular vegetarian dishes, enjoyed by all and some prepared on special occasions. Beans, lentils and vegetables are usually grown in the rice fields of Goa after harvesting. Most of these vegetables are cooked with grated coconut and some with a sprinkling of tiny prawns.


This consists of Goan rice (also known as Ukade rice that are reddish in color and thick grained), water and salt to taste.
This is usually eaten with pickle or Papads or dried roasted fish or prawn curry (very thick). Pez is very popular in Goan homes and usually eaten at  around 11.00 am everyday. Pez is also considered to be the best for patients recuperating from illness. It is also given to babies for weaning as their first solid food.


This is made of dried black-eyed beans, oil, onion, tomatoes, cloves, ginger, turmeric powder, tamarind pulp, chili powder / paprika powder, salt to taste and coconut milk.

Kokum Curry (Binda Fruit)

This is made of grated coconut, green chilies, gloves garlic, pinch of asafetida, kokum peels and salt to taste.

Sprouted Lentil Curry

This consists / made of sprouted green lentils ( Moog Dal), grated coconut, peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, cloves garlic, oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, onion, peanuts, tamarind pulp, sugar and salt to taste.

Breadfruit Curry

This is made / consists of large breadfruit, water, grated coconut, onion, red chilies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves garlic, ginger, curry leaves, turmeric powder, sugar, tamarind pulp, sugar and salt to taste.

Pungent Feijoada

This is made / consists of red beans, dried peppers, cloves, cumin seeds, grated coconut, oil onion, tamarind pulp and salt to taste.

Rice Bread

This is made / consists rice flour, grated coconut, onion, coriander, sugar, green chilies, de-seeded, salt to taste and butter (ghee).


This is made / consists of rice, grated coconut, toddy, sugar and salt to taste.

Sannas without Toddy.

This is made of  boiled rice, raw rice, white lentils (known as Udad), dry yeast and salt to taste.


This is made / consists of Basmati rice, ghee (clarified butter), onion, cloves, cinnamon, cardamoms, vegetable cubes, fresh lemon juice, olives and green peas.

Coconut Pulao

Made / consists of Basmati rice, Ghee (butter), onion, cloves, cinnamon, cardamoms, coconut milk, fresh lemon juice, green peas, cauliflower, cashew nuts and salt to taste.

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Meat Dishes

The typical Goan is  a meat and fish eater with a preference for pork, chicken, beef and mutton. The usual daily meal is  “fish curry and rice” along with other various accompaniments. The evening meal usually consists of a meat dish with a salad or cooked vegetable. Pork and chicken are generally cooked for special occasions and on Sundays in Goan homes. The ingredients used in Goan meat dishes are common for chicken, pork, beef and mutton.  Because of its significant Christian population, Goa is one of the few places in India where Pork is eaten  with relish and accepted by society. 

Pork is is taboo to both Hindus and Muslims in India and the significance of this is amply illustrated by what the British termed as "The Sepoy Mutiny  of 1857. It was the first Indian attempt to overthrow the British and it began with the native Indian soldiers refusing to use the pork grease used for their rifles, thus triggering the mutiny. It was  subsequently crushed.

A quintessential famous Goan dish  is “Sorpotel” , It is a pork dish and is today available in most  beach side restaurants. “Sorpotel” is usually prepared four to five days in advance. It is warmed up once a day until the day it is served and eaten with “Sanna”,  a steamed rice muffin.


Consists of boneless pork, pork liver, tongue, kidneys, red dried chilies, peppers, peppercorns, cloves garlic, ginger, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, vinegar, oil, coconut feni, green chilies, peppers, onion and salt to taste.


Consists of Meat, pork liver, tongue, kidneys, red dried chilies, peppers, peppercorns, cloves garlic, ginger, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, vinegar, oil and sugar.

Pork Balchao

Consists of boneless pork, dried red chilies, peppers, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds, cloves garlic, ginger, vinegar, oil, onion, dried prawn powder, sugar.

Pork  Baffado

Consists of pork, beef under cut, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fresh coriander, green chilies / peppers, vinegar, lemon size ball tamarind, sugar, onion, oil, and potatoes.

Pork Assado

Consists of pork, red dried chilies, peppers, green chilies, cumin seeds, peppercorns, ginger, cloves garlic, turmeric powder, oil, tamarind extract, potatoes, onion and tomatoes.

Roast Pigling

Consists of a small pigling, peppercorns, ginger, cloves garlic, juice, lemon, pork lard / dripping, onion, tomatoes, green chilies / peppers, cloves garlic, coriander, mint leaves, breadcrumbs, green peas, potatoes and salt to taste.

Pork Vindaloo

Consists of pork, red dried chilies / peppers, peppercorns, cloves garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, sugar, vinegar, oil, coconut feni, onion and salt to taste.

Pickled Pork

Consists of pork, vinegar, red chilies / pepper, turmeric powder, cumin seeds, peppercorns, cloves garlic, oil and salt to taste.

Spiced Pork Sausages

Consists of pork (boneless), vinegar, turmeric powder, red chilies / peppers, garlic pods, ginger, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds and beef.

Girem - Mirem

Consists of pork, oil, onion, tomato, green chilies, coriander leaves, cumin seeds, peppercorns in vinegar, ginger, turmeric powder and salt to taste.

Chicken Xacuti (Shakuti)

Consists of Chicken, grated coconut, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, poppy seeds, turmeric powder, red dried chilies, grated nutmeg, aniseed, fennel seeds, oil, onion, green chilies, tamarind pulp.

Chicken Galinha Cafreal

Consists of Chicken, green chilies / peppers, ginger, cloves garlic, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, garam masala, lemon juice, oil, onion, tomatoes, potatoes.

Chicken Coconut Curry

Consists of Chicken, oil, onion, coconut milk, cloves garlic, ginger, coriander powder, cumin powder, green chilies / peppers, tomatoes and salt to taste.

Bife de Goa

Consists of beef undercut, peppercorns, cloves garlic, onion, potatoes, tomatoes, olive oil, red dried chilies, peppers and vinegar.

Spiced Roast Beef

Consists of beef (sirloin), cloves garlic, ginger, lemon juice, oil, peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, red dried chilies / peppers, Worcestershire sauce, corn flour and potatoes.


Consists of dried black-eyed beans, onion, vinegar, tomatoes, recheiado masala, cloves garlic, ginger, oil, pork, Goan sausages and salt to taste.

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Pickles made of green Mangoes are most popular in Goa. It is made from a variety of mixed recipes / masala. The pickles are cooked or from fresh fruit or sun cooked.

Mango Water Pickle

This is usually made of small raw green mangoes (seeds still unformed) with a mixture of red dried chilies / paprika and peppercorns and salt.


This pickle is quickly made for daily use. This is made of raw green mangoes (seeds still unformed or removing the seed) with green chilies, peppers, salt and water.

Green Mango Chutney

This chutney is made of large green mangoes, grated coconut, green chilies, peppers, cloves garlic, cumin seeds, sugar, mint leaves, sprig of coriander, lemon juice and salt.
All the above ingredients are put in a grinder after cutting the mangoes to small pieces and blend smooth.

Coconut Pickled Fish Relish

This pickle / chutney is made of pickled mackerel (fish), oil, grated coconut, tamarind pulp, onion, chilies / peppers, cloves garlic, sugar, and fresh coriander .

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Goan Sweets

Goan sweets have their origin both in Portugal and also the local Konkan region. At Christmas, trays of delicacies are produced and consumed. After the Christmas midnight mass, families visit each other and share a slice of the Christmas cake and a glass of wine. The next  morning there is an exchange of sweets, with each tray covered with a home made Christmas Crib and a Christmas star. Each locality usually has a competition to judge the best Star and the Crib.

Goan sweets have the coconut either thinly sliced or in the  form of its juice.


This sweet is very popular in Goa. It is made of coconut milk, yolks, flour, grated nutmeg, cardamom essence, and clarified butter (ghee).

Sans Rival

This is a delicious cake and is made of eggs (white), castor sugar, almonds, baking powder, cream and cherries.


This is a coconut sweet and is made of sugar, water, eggs yolk, grated coconut, fresh bread cut into small cubes, almond essence and raisins.

Coconut Macaroons

This is made of flour, salt, castor sugar, clarified butter (ghee), vanilla and almond essence.


This is a soft sweetmeat. This is prepared of raw rice, grated coconut, jaggery (coconut molasses), cashew nuts, butter and vanilla essence.


Neurios are basically prepared from flour and filled / stuffed with raisins, cashew nuts, grated coconut, sesame seeds, granulated sugar and cardamom powder.


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